Shavano Park City Council on April 24 finalized strengthening city rules regarding dogs deemed dangerous, aggressive or a public nuisance.
Council did a first reading of the new ordinance March 27 when city officials said Shavano Park previously had basic requirements for unleashed animals and pet vaccinations, but lacked stronger regulation for aggressive or dangerous dogs.
Police Chief Gene Fox said the city was moved to bolster its loose dog rules by a February incident in San Antonio where an elderly man was killed and three other people were injured following a loose dog attack. Fox said there have been some less severe issues regarding loose dogs in Shavano Park in recent months.
Fox said Shavano Park Police Department researched dangerous dog ordinances in San Antonio, Houston and other cities and related state laws apply in Shavano Park.
“I think we have a pretty extensive ordinance now,” Fox said.
The new ordinance contains a three-tiered structure for regulating dogs in order of severity from highest to lowest:
- Dangerous dogs who commit unprovoked attacks on people that causes serious bodily injury;
- Aggressive dogs who commit unprovoked attacks on people or other animals that causes bodily injury; and
- Public nuisance dogs who run at large three or more times in one year or do other things that bother people other than the owner.
City officials said the three-tiered structure was designed to help police carefully categorize dogs based upon their actions in the community.
City officials said the city has had a handful reports that cover dogs now considered dangerous or aggressive, but the city has had multiple complaints that now would be considered a public nuisance.
If a resident’s dog leaves their property and wanders around possibly more than once, but does not bother any human or other animal, Fox said the city is willing to work with those dog owners to rectify their issue before it gets out of hand.
According to the new ordinance, anyone owning, keeping or controlling a dog deemed dangerous, aggressive or a public nuisance commits a Class C misdemeanor if they fail to follow other related requirements.
The dog owner will be fined between $500 and $2,000, depending on the severity of their case, and the city could decide to seize the dog(s) in question or order euthanasia if that dog causes serious injury or death following an attack.
“I think this will have a positive effect on our ability to protect our residents,” City Manager Bill Hill said.